Wet Mountains Relaxing

Our one year wedding anniversary was celebrated with a trip to the Wet Mountains outside of Pueblo, CO.

The Wet Mountains outside of Pueblo, CO are gentle mountains.

Rolling more than sharp and pointed. Covered in aspen and only barely poking above treeline. Dotted with lakes and large open meadows.

They are mountains reminiscent of New Mexico just to the south. They are not mountains for peak bagging, huge technical climbs or bragging rights.

They are mountains to “just be” : to relax in nature, enjoy the beauty and be immersed in the wilderness for a little bit.

Perfect for location to celebrate our first year of marriage.

Our plan was to hike to the top of Greenhorn mountain, camp nearby and then visit nearby Bishop’s Castle on the way back.

We started the weekend off by waking up just before sunrise. A balloon ride was the first event to kick off the weekend.

Alas, the recent floods in Boulder made for wet and soggy ground. Our tour operator became stuck and could not launch the balloon. 🙁

No matter. Just an earlier start to the hiking portion of our weekend.

We made our way down to I-25 and passed through the small towns of Colorado City and Rye and left the sage brush behind. We soon entered a forest of aspen and pines.

Further up the road we drove. We turned on to the forest service road and enjoyed playing “windshield tourist” a bit with the views.  We then reached the trail head for Greenhorn Mountain. Our hike would begin.

Almost immediately, we reached the cusp of treeline. The Sangres could be seen quite clearly.

The views to the not-so-distant meadows really opened up as well.

Though windy above treeline, we found a convenient place to stop out of the wind.

The tundra area was a little too windy and cold for a past partner.  We went to a sub-peak instead and took one last look at Greenhorn Mountain above.

The hike down was quick. Treeline was soon reached. a past partner was happy to get out of the wind! 🙂

We found a nice spot to make camp for the night. Not far from a small tarn, a good view to the mountains above, quiet and peaceful.

 

The dual burner stove was broken out, a fitting meal was made to celebrate our first year of marriage and a gift of Rhode Island Red wine was consumed.

After dinner, we strolled over to the nearby pond and enjoyed the evening light show.

The following morning was what can be described as quiet enjoyment.

A pot of coffee was brewed. Our breakfast was enjoyed in the crisp autumn air. We were in no rush to leave this peaceful spot.

Eventually we did leave and made out way slowly out of the Forest Service lands.

Some views were enjoyed in the wide open meadows to the distant mountains.

We hit pavement and soon came to Bishop’s Castle.

A unique attraction in the area, it is well worth a visit.

The privately owned and built castle is ran with donations, some sales from the small gift shop and some private functions.

Having been to an actual castle  in Germany, I find it to be a mix of the creative and somehow authentic.

The windy stairs, railings swaying in the wind, rough stone and a rope for steadying the hands seemed more what people in the 1200s may have seen vs the “tourist proof” areas seen today.

a past partner’s face says it all 🙂

Not pictured: The iron work swaying in the wind. :O

But the dragon, turrets and other items were definitely more eye-catching then “lets hold out for a siege” functionality. 🙂

I was reminded of a Led Zeppelin album cover for some reason….

After our castle visit, we made our way back to the small towns at the edge of USFS land.

One last look was taken to the Wet Mountains before we left.

A quiet, peaceful and enjoyable weekend.

I’d love to get in a backpacking trip here during the peak of fall.

I’ll be back.

All the photos

IF YOU GO

Getting There:  This link has good directions and an overview of the Greenhorn Mountain trail

Map and Trail Info: At 5mi R/T and 2000′ gain, it is an easy-to-moderate hike. Great views. Wish we made it to the top, but a past partner did not enjoy the very cold wind about the trees. 🙂  For maps, a 7.5 topo is suggested. The local USFS map may work as well.

Camping: Greenhorn Mtn rd has a ton of free and quiet camp spots. Almost all have good views.

Post-Trail:  Bishops’s Castle is well worth the visit. The owner has some rather, ah, interesting views so be aware. 🙂 Otherwise enjoy the fact that this impressive monument was built over the course of 45 years by Mr. Bishop himself. Cool!

 

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